Giygas, as he appears in EarthBound.
|First game||Mother (1989)|
|Created by||Shigesato Itoi|
Giygas, known in Japan as Gyiyg (ギーグ Gīgu ), is a fictional alien character in the EarthBound video game series by Nintendo, created by Shigesato Itoi. The character serves as the main antagonist and final boss of the first two games in the series, Mother and EarthBound.
Giygas's appearance in EarthBound garnered positive reception.
Concept and creation
Giygas was created by Shigesato Itoi, the creator of the EarthBound series in the original Mother. He went under the name of Giegue in the cancelled English localisation. In an interview on his website, Itoi describes how his inspiration for the final battle with Giygas resulted from a traumatic childhood event. When Itoi was a young boy, he accidentally viewed the wrong movie at a theater, a Shintoho film entitled Kenpei to barabara shibijin. According to Itoi the film featured a murder scene near a river that Itoi mistook for a rape scene that traumatized Itoi so much that his parents began to worry about his well-being. Years later, Itoi integrated the experience into Giygas' dialogue for the final battle. Itoi described Giygas as something that people cannot make sense of, but also as a living being who deserves love. He compared this part of him to the breast of Hisako Tsukaba, the victim of the film. He described this scene as a combination of atrocity and eroticism, and that is what his lines are in the end, one of them being "it hurts...". While designing this battle, Itoi spoke all of the text out loud while another staff member, Matchan Miura, wrote it down. He spoke each hiragana character one by one, commenting that he felt the hiragana made it scarier. Itoi explained that the subtitle to the Japanese version, which exclaims that "Giygas strikes back", was inserted to instill that he did not die in Mother, as well as to show to the readers what to expect from the final boss. Music composer Hirokazu Tanaka described Giygas as the "embodiment of evil". As a result, he composed the music in a certain way based on the player's proximity to him. For example, in battles where Ness and company encounters someone or something under Giygas' control, the music and sound effects reflect this. However, when Ness and company are in a peaceful area such as a Sanctuary, the music has a spiritual nuance.
Giygas first appears in the NES video game, Mother, referred to as Giegue in the cancelled English version. In Mother, Giygas was raised by Maria, a woman abducted along with her husband George by Giygas' alien race from Earth in the early 1900s. George studied the aliens' PSI powers without permission, and escaped back to Earth. Once he matured, Giygas was tasked by his people to make sure that PSI never spread onto Earth. However, Giygas didn't want to betray those who raised him, particularly Maria. In the end, he forced himself to detach from Maria, and began preparations for the aliens' invasion. Eighty years later, strange things start happening on Earth. These events are eventually revealed to be the work of Giygas. Maria, now a Queen in a magical world called Magicant, explains everything to the protagonists of Mother after her memories are restored. When the protagonists encounter Giygas, he explains his motives to them while attacking them with his PSI power. Maria urges protagonist Ninten to sing, which weakens Giygas. Ninten, Ana, and Lloyd sing together, forcing Giygas to surrender and flee.
Giygas next appears in the Super NES sequel EarthBound. Giygas is an unseen villain for most of the story, although his evil possesses humans, animals, and objects who unknowingly do his bidding. According to a character from the future named Buzz Buzz, Giygas conquers Earth ten years in the future. One of his key minions is Porky Minch (incorrectly translated as Pokey), a former friend of protagonist Ness. At first, Dr. Andonuts (the father of playable character Jeff) believes that Giygas is residing deep within the Earth, and transports himself and the party there using a machine called the Phase Distorter. When they arrive, they find that Giygas is attacking from that exact location, but from innumerable years in the past. The only way the protagonists can get to Giygas' time period is to alter the Phase Distorter to transport them back in time. When the group finally reaches the now-unrecognizable Giygas, Porky appears in a spider-like armored mech and derides the protagonists' efforts. Giygas initially resembles Ness while in the device called the "Devil's Machine." Porky eventually turns the Devil's Machine off, thereby destroying Giygas' body and mind by releasing his excessive power, and also driving him mad. Porky refers to him as an "almighty idiot," calling him the "literal definition of evil." At this point, Giygas' words are nondescript and nonsensical. He becomes invulnerable to damage, while his attacks become incomprehensible, accompanied by the infamous line "You cannot grasp the true form of Giygas' attack!". Giygas is eventually destroyed by Paula, who prays to the protagonists' friends and family for them to lend their strength. Her praying eventually reaches the player, and the combined prayers do enough damage to Giygas, resulting in his destruction.
Since appearing in EarthBound, Giygas has received largely positive reception. 1UP.com staff listed the battle with Giygas as one of the 25 best boss battles, describing it as an "insane end to an insane game". They cited the pixelated imagery and screeching noises that came from Giygas, as well as the final portion of the battle, which requires the player's characters to pray for aide from their friends and family to defeat Giygas, including the player, effectively breaking the fourth wall of the game. In 2010, GamesRadar listed Giygas as one of the most iconic boss encounters in Nintendo history, stating that the defining moment came from the second phase, where Giygas becomes the "swirling, undulating background", as well as citing the method of defeating Giygas as another defining moment. 1UP.com editor Jeremy Parish used the final battle against Giygas as an example of how EarthBound inverts gamers' expectations, due to the fact that the player characters employ prayer as opposed to their strongest attacks. UGO Networks editor Chris Littler listed Giygas as one of the hardest boss battles. Complex listed Giygas as the thirteenth "hardest video game boss" in 2011.
GameSpot featured him in a user-voted poll of the greatest villains in video games. However, he lost to Darth Malak from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, with 13,867 votes in his favour compared to 55,764 for Malak. GamesRadar praised Giygas's role as an antagonist, putting him in their 2013 list of the best villains in video game history at number 47. GameSpot described Giygas as "everything sinister that ever was, is, or will be all rolled up into a single, screaming, disturbing red blob." In discussing the possibilities of EarthBound being on the Wii's Virtual Console service, IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas makes reference to the battle with Giygas, stating that fans of the series will be "hoping, wishing, praying in front of Giygas nine times over that Nintendo will be listening, and that the series will be acknowledged once again." Destructoid editor Jonathan Holmes described Giygas as "one of the most abstract, unhappy, all powerful villains to ever appear in a Nintendo game." Joystick Division cited his rivalry with Ness as seventh of the ten greatest in video games, adding Giygas is "certainly one of the most disturbing in all of gaming". ScrewAttack included it on the top of their list of the scariest retro enemies, and UGO Networks and Joystick Division listed Giygas in their list of scariest characters in video game history, placing respectively in their "top 25" and "top 10" as the fourteenth and seventh.
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